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Clermont: In quest of a fortune - fossicking for gold

After leaving the Willows Gem Fields armed with our solitary sapphire find, Clermontwe headed back to Anakie and turned north to Clermont travelling through the small adjoining villages of Sapphire and Rubyvale, where a number of active commercial and tourist gem mines still operate today. From Rubyvale, it was on to the dirt and through some interesting country littered with basalt-capped outcrops, remnants of ancient volcanic activity.


Located in Queensland's Central Highlands, about 273 km inland for Mackay, today the town is an important mining centre, with Blair Athol coal mine located less than 20km away. In the late 1800's it was a bustling productive gold mining area and a number of public fossicking areas have now been opened up to develop regional tourism. The patronage at the local caravan park is testament to the locale's popularity for metal detecting.

We had purchased a Queensland Government Fossickers Licence in Brisbane and were informed that we also required Clermont's own Fossicking Kit, essential before passage is granted to individuals to enter and metal detect in the designated General Permission Areas around Clermont.

The kit was purchased at the Clermont Caravan park, which looked like mini suburbia, and we decided that we would establish a base about 25km out of town at a camping area on Theresa Dam.

It proved to be a good choice...very secluded, scenic and quite tranquil.

After a bit of deliberation, we settled on a fossicking place called McMasters, on Queensland State Forest land, about 30km north west of Clermont, on the Gregory Development Road to Charters Towers.
Two days of weaving in and out of spindly trees, down and up dry gullies and along stony creek beds proved fruitless and the only time the metal detector beeped loudly into action was when the pick, holstered on my belt, swayed forward over the detector coil.

We decided that Clermont was not the place of our wealth creation and headed east to the coast to visit my brother and his wife in Mackay.

From Clermont the run to Mackay on the Peak Downs Highway was quite scenic

with the silhouette of the Peak Range on the horizon for the first hour or so. One of the most striking, Mount Wolfang, was located just off the highway and the twin peaks of the Gemini Mountains, peering over a harvested field, caught our eye.